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Old 12-01-04, 08:35 AM   #1
MrCjolsen
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What is slowing me down?

Throughtout the summer, I trained/commuted on a MTB with street tires, clipless pedals, and bar ends. I did everything I could to make the bike go faster on roads. On a good day, I cold hold about 18-20 mph on flats.

When the weather got cold and the days short, I parked it and focused on swimming.

After about six weeks of not riding, I bought a road bike (a trek 1000c), expecting to gain the 4-5 mph the nice man at the bike shop said I would.

After two weeks and 144 miles with the road bike I am holding about the same speed as I did on the MTB.

The thing is that it is much colder now than it was then. I have to bundle up, carry a bag for when I shed layers of clothes as I get warmer.

Is the cold weather slowing me down?
Do the extra clothes make me less aero?
Does the extra weight slow me down?
Shouldn't I have recovered from my six week break? I was riding about 60 miles a week before (I also swim, which takes priority because that's where I actually compete)
How can I squeez a few extra mph out of my road bike? It has 700x28 100 psi tires, a suspension seat post and an adustable stem. Otherwise, it's nearly the same mechanically as a Trek 1000.

Or Do I just need to be patient?
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Old 12-01-04, 08:53 AM   #2
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The 1000c has a different geometry than the 1000, and puts you in a more upright position. Since your MTB is also an upright, you probably won't see such a huge difference based on just the bike by itself. The wheels will make a difference over the MTB wheels, but 4-5 mph just by switching bikes and changing nothing in technique sounds a little bit like a sales pitch to me.

I picked up about 1-2 mph when I got my 1200T over my Schwinn. Mind you, that's when I first got it, didn't gear properly, and hadn't really gotten the whole "make circles" thing down. I really think to expect 4-5 mph just by changing bikes is unrealistic, and it sounds to me like the bike shop kinda sold you a bill of goods.

Don't be down though, you got a great bike. If you really want to try to get a bit more out of your 1000c, see if you can fit it with 700x23's instead of the 700x28's. That might help a bit, but in reality more practice with your gearing and building your technique will get you much more results than bikeswapping.
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Old 12-01-04, 09:02 AM   #3
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air density
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Old 12-01-04, 09:52 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by boyze
air density
Hey seriously, there's an interesting article on Ice Biker that talks about this effect. It's an interesting article, too.
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Old 12-02-04, 10:21 AM   #5
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On my 12.5 mile commute, I cruised a little faster today. My average was 19 for the first 8 miles (until I hit the urban portion of my ride, parts of which would make a great cyclocross route) and I held 20-21 going across the infamous Yolo Causway. On good days with my MTB my best was 18 on that stretch.

I moved the seat up and forward, which I think helped. Also got some real cycling clothing to replace some of the military issue stuff I was using to keep warm.

Right now it's 32F outside the door of my classroom.
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Old 12-02-04, 10:32 AM   #6
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I feel I did pick up around 4 to 5 miles per hour by going from 16 year old Schwinn Criss-Cross to a Trek 1000. I also changed to clip-less pedals when I bought the bike.
Went from 11/12 to 15/16 average, maybe even more. I also received the same line from my Trek dealer, but he said I would not pick up as much speed with the 1000c.

Remember, you fundamentally have to over come two forms of resistance on a bike - rolling (the tires) and wind (rider position). At your speed it is mostly wind résistance.

Besides moving to clip-less peddles I have a 700x23 back tire and Bontrager Select rims. I started breaking rear spokes at 800 miles and had broken five within a few months. Trek replaced the rear rim and I paid $70.00 for the front rim.

Check http://www.roadbikereview.com/ for more complaints about the rims and a reviewer that clams averaging 8.3 mph average faster than his Trek 4500 MTB one his first ride.

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Old 12-02-04, 03:46 PM   #7
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Last winter I blamed it on wearing several layers of clothes and big boots. This year, I'm planning on wearing about 3 pounds less clothes (found some great windproof pants with fleece inside!) and not wearing big boots. Seems to be going better so far.

The cold will also hold you back. Something about air density, like Boyz said above.
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Old 12-02-04, 04:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boyze
air density
Air is more dense when cold. More dense air contains more oxygen, and should theoretically improve your efficiency and speed. THat is why mega horsepower cars run faster during colder days.

The reason why you're slowing down is because your nerves are more sensitive to cold air. Since you're most likely breathing through your mouth, the air is not warmed up. Thus your lunge close off some of the smaller, and medium sized air ways, and your body simply cannot process as much oxygen and remove as much carbon dioxide. That is why you're not performing to your max.

How do you like your road bike compared to riding your mountain bike on the road? I am considering getting a road bike for training next year and cannot make up my mind. If you got time, feel free to comment on my bike choice here: newbie to road biking!!
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Old 12-02-04, 07:22 PM   #9
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On my way home, I headed east into a 15 mph wind coming out of the NW. On my mtb, I would have watched my speed steadily decrease until I was plodding along at 13 or 14 mph. On the road bike, it's a lot easier to find a gear and cadenece that works into the wind, and hold a somewhat acceptable speed (today it was about 17.5 or so. Sunday, I rode straight into a 20 knot wind, and did about 11 mph for a few miles, turned around and got the bike up to 30 at one point. My mtb would have been barley staying up into the wind, and my pedals would have spun out coming back.
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Old 12-18-04, 01:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCjolsen
After about six weeks of not riding, I bought a road bike (a trek 1000c), expecting to gain the 4-5 mph the nice man at the bike shop said I would.

After two weeks and 144 miles with the road bike I am holding about the same speed as I did on the MTB.
There's your answer. Deconditioning. It takes a lot longer to build up conditioning than it takes to lose it. I think you'll find yourself improving your average speed over time as you start riding regularly again.
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